sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Sunday, July 9th, 2017 10:57 am
So one problem with having lots of chronic illnesses and food intolerances is constantly crossing paths with health quackery. Sometimes by sheer chance they can actually offer some helpful recipes. Paleo blogs are a good souce of recipes with meat but not dairy, for example, even if their reasons for eating that way are ridiculous. But often I just get pissed off when I think of how sick I would be if I actually listened to these charlatans, and how much harm they do to the genuinely sick people who are taken in.

A relatively minor irritation from today I just feel like ranting about:
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sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 08:20 pm
I read a really great post about this by someone with Actual Media Studies Knowledge but can't find the link and people keep being wrong about it on the internet, so here's my less informed ranting.

In short: "The Female Gaze", as the term is usually used within fandom discussions of media, makes no sense and is actively harmful.
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sqbr: (up and down)
Thursday, March 16th, 2017 12:32 pm
(I wanted to argue with someone on twitter and this is way too complex for 140 characters)

A hole a lot of activists seem to fall into is thinking that the axis of oppression they're fighting is the central oppression, the one from all others flow. If people just put their energy into this, the REAL fight, all the others would fall like dominos.

I have seen people argue this about ecomonic inequality, sexism, homophobia, ableism, racism (both in general and against specific ethnic groups), everything. I once read a very compelling argument by bell hooks that the Real Underlying Oppression is against children.

In every case the argument is (a) if you fight X, all the others improve and (b) There is an underlying element of X to all oppressions.

Which is true! But it's true for all of them. Everything is connected. It's all the same struggle. If you battle one, you battle them all. If one becomes worse, all the others become worse too.
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sqbr: A giant eyeball with tentacles (tii)
Tuesday, December 27th, 2016 06:09 am
50 Ways People Expect Constant Emotional Labor from Women and Femmes

Right down to a link about how "women and femmes" have a pay gap... that leads to an article about women vs men. I am not expecting anyone to have access to data that includes non binary people but they could say that rather than erasing our existence.

If they'd not done the search and replace I'd just have had a moment of "sigh, non binary people exist" but otherwise be ok with it.

Discussions of gender which erase non binary people are annoying but they are not as actively gross to me as ones which "remember" us by just assuming some portion of us are "basically women" (whether it be femmes or "women aligned" non binary people or some other arbitrary subset) and implicitely treat the rest like "basically men".
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sqbr: (up)
Sunday, July 10th, 2016 10:58 pm
The Sad Anime Wheelchair Girl (who may not actually be a girl, or in an anime, but that's where I've seen it most) is in a manual wheelchair with handlebars of the sort used in hospitals. She is either a paraplegic or just "sick". Her personality is quiet, passive, and emotionally sensitive. She is quietly melancholy about her disability but tries to keep her spirits up.

She's got complete control over her arms so definitely isn't quadraplegic etc. She has no cognitive issues. She is slow and weak and sickly even when there isn't anything wrong with her canonically asides from paraplegia. She never has a power wheelchair but uses other people to push her around long distances or even by default. Her situation is not shown as changing or improving no matter how long she is in the chair.

This is not how things work! Paraplegics are, in general, just as energetic as able bodied people. They have elegant streamlined wheelchairs that look very different to the sorts used in hospitals, and incredibly strong arms. And those wheelchair users who can't push themselves around very energetically or at all are much more likely to use a power wheelchair than get someone else to push them around. The only long term manual wheechair users I've seen rely entirely on other people were those too cognitively impaired to control a power chair. There may be other circumstances I'm not aware of but it certainly isn't the default, and I have seen manual wheelchair users complain about all of this.
Pondering how to draw fanart of such characters )
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Friday, January 8th, 2016 01:14 pm
I feel like I almost have a grip on this idea but lack the words to express it. Let's have a go anyway.

So! Fandom discussions have become very social justice tinged of late. In some ways I think this is great, I'm old enough to remember the dark wasteland of "why are you bringing race/gender/etc into it??" fannish dicussions before about 2006, and continue to be delighted by some of the positive changes I've seen in media and fandom over the last decade or so.

But! As is increasingly obvious there are some serious issues with the way social justice is approached in fandom, beyond the unavoidable flaws created by the conversation having people in it. And part of this is the erasure of the relative power position of the people being criticised. None of this is entirely new, but it's gotten worse. Nb I am primarly talking about online female dominated Western fandom, generally on dreamwidth and tumblr, but this happens other places too.
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sqbr: (up)
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 02:03 pm
Originally posted to tumblr in response to some flawed advice. Edited slightly to make sense out of context.

You do not need a reason to include disabled characters in your story. Able bodied people are not the default. Saying you need a reason to make a character disabled is like saying you need a reason to make them a woman, or a POC, or mogai. Or, conversely, that you need a reason to make them able bodied, a man, white, or straight. In fact I’ve started trying to make all my characters disabled queer WOC by default and only making them able bodied etc when the plot requires it and I can see no way this is not just as valid a storytelling approach. 

Now, able bodied people are the majority, but disabled people are still 10% of the population. So they should be at least 10% of your cast. If they are not without good reason you are perpetuating ableism. Making your cast 100% ablebodied is a choice, and an unrealistic one at that. (Making your cast 100% disabled is also kind of unrealistic, and is one reason I don’t do it. But I don’t see that it’s any worse) EDIT: This depends very much on the context of your story. If it's set in a nursing home the number of disabled characters should probably be higher than if it's set in a unit of Navy Seals.

And yes, when you write those disabled characters, you have to write them as disabled, you can’t just gloss over their impairments and write them as able bodied. And it will be a challenge. Suck it up. Use it as inspiration to write a more interesting story. Or, if your story really doesn’t work with that disability, give them a different one or make them able bodied. But don’t give up before you’ve even tried by default.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting out with the intention to write more disabled characters, and it is not pandering. Pandering to who, disabled people? OH NO. 

You know what I find insulting? When a character in fiction shows up with a disability and I KNOW it will be plot relevant (and probably faked as part of them being the villain) because god forbid disabled characters just exist without it being a big deal. Like we do in real life.

sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
Saturday, July 19th, 2014 02:01 pm
As I encounter more reviews Snowpeircer has gone from "science fiction film I might enjoy" to "metaphorical film I might enjoy for the story" to "metaphorical film I won't enjoy the story of" to "metaphorical film I won't enjoy whose central metaphor will piss me off". I'm sure it's very good, and I admire the intent, but nope. I can see some people finding it cathartic, and that's cool for them. But I wouldn't, so the film has no appeal.

EDIT: I should add that I had already pretty much decided not to watch the movie anyway because it has lots of bad things happening to children which I find really upsetting.

This piece of meta intended to defend it was the final straw. Spoilers for the end, because it's the end that annoys me. tl;dr: implying that true revolution relies on the ~pure youth~ since everyone else is too tainted appeals to burned out old activists and optimistic young activists but is really annoying when you're the child of activists. And I think it betrays a real lack of imagination.

sqbr: (up)
Saturday, November 9th, 2013 01:18 pm
The first and most obvious reason is that it's terrifying. Cecil may be able to put a positive spin on massive death rates and repressive secret police but personally I'd rather stay in a town where the librarians don't try to eat you and steal your children. YMMV.

The second reason is that there are no ramps in Night Vale. The writers have gone to great efforts to create a world with no acceptance of homophobia, racism or sexism and have been rightfully applauded for doing so. Yet when it comes to disability the town doesn't do so well(*).
Read more... )
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 07:23 am
I got into an argument on tumblr with someone about aromanticism and I don't feel like engaging with them any more but they are SO INFURIATING I feel the need to rant.

Note: I am not aromantic myself, I apologise if I misstep. You guys have enough crap to deal with.
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sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 08:36 pm
Yes, really.

Because while I may not be into m/m much most of the time, and have my own Issues With Slash Fandom, I've seen a few posts pop up on tumblr recently (here's the most recent) which have been taking the very simplistic line that slash's popularity is purely a result of misogyny, and that writing m/m is equivalent to only writing about white people. These posts also act like het is this POOR OPPRESSED MINORITY which, no.

It's nearly 2013, fandom, have we still not moved beyond this? Can't we argue about something else now?
Cut for those as sick of it as me )
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Friday, September 21st, 2012 08:32 am
So, Pictures for Sad Children is a webcomic full of wry, self aware melancholy about dysfunctional people. I get linked it a lot but have always found it hit and miss.

The creator recently put up a post on his Kickstarter saying that he had been pretending to be depressed this whole time because that's just what artists do. Cue many depressed fans who had really connected with his comics feeling betrayed, and many ableist fans rejoicing at a chance to go on about how depression isn't really a thing.

But it was apparently all a joke, which anyone who was friends with him or familiar with his other work would have recognised, so all that outrage was for nothing HAHA TUMBLR. (The other, much more understandable "ARGH TUMBLR" reaction is to all the people who have been told that it's a joke but are still acting like it was meant literally, and the inevitable death treats etc. ARGH TUMBLR)

This attitude really pisses me off. I'm all in favour of satire and sarcasm (see: the title of this post, the previous paragraph), and not all humour has to be accessible to everyone. But if you tell a joke where it would be really bad if people took you literally, and most people DO take you literally, then you told the joke badly and you are responsible for the consequences.

Sure, there's only so much you can do about overly literal minded people, and it I think it's justifiable to cause SOME pain with art/humour, or we'd never get to use them at all. But having patchy reading comprehension or "not being a true fan" doesn't somehow make a person unworthy of compassion. Afaict most PFSC readers thought this was real, and a great many were deeply hurt. This could have been avoided if he made the satire more obvious, and I can't see any real advantage to being so opaque except...making the joke funnier for the people who get it? Being more effective on the tiny sliver of bigots who got the joke? Woo.

And even if we decide that everyone who doesn't get the joke is a humourless moron unworthy of respect, think of all the bigots who took it as support for hating on depressed people. Not actually being on their side doesn't magically make the pro-bigotry effect go away.

This is not someone's private blog that got taken out of context. It was a public and actively promoted kickstarter aimed at people who read PFSC, and it clearly failed at being clear to it's intended audience.

Since this apparently does need to be said: I'm not saying we should all go chasing after John Campbell with pitchforks, and the people who are harassing him need to step down. I do think he's a bit of a pretentious douche, but to be honest I kind of thought that anyway. Mainly I'm defending the people who are fans of PFSC and felt hurt from having their feelings dismissed.
sqbr: Faith holding a spray can next to "Buffy the Vamprie Slayer" with Faith scrawled over the top (faith)
Sunday, September 16th, 2012 09:02 pm
I like romance novels. I like fantasy (more than non-speculative fiction, at least). But somehow the combination of the two is always GODAWFUL. Like, every single supernatural romance has the protagonist being a Special Angsty Snowflake. All other women are soft weak victims while she is tough and powerful, but also vulnerable. She tries dating nice guys but they can't handle her Power, she needs an even more powerful man, one who is SUPER manly and strong and arrogant and probably despises all other women as much as the narrative.

Blech. I find arrogance and misogyny super unattractive, even in my escapism. Not to mention giant men bulging with muscles.

"Bitten" by Kelley Armstrong came strongly recced, but I had a bad feeling from her being The Only Female Werewolf. Sure enough, they see all other women but her as only useful for meaningless sex and babies (there are no gay or asexual werewolves, natch) Eventually I had to check to see if she gets back together with her smug stalkery ex AND SHE DOES. Of course, he's the most obnoxious and unpleasant man in the story, he must be the romantic lead.

It's pretty well written and I like the main female character (for a start, she doesn't hate other women, woo!), but hits too many bad buttons for me. Maybe I'll skip to the end and see if I like the feel of it.

Then maybe I'll reread my Marjorie Liu. She actually has some VARIETY in her manly supernatural men. And then I will sigh and wish for f/f space opera romance.
sqbr: me cosplaying the bearded dwarf cheery longbottom, titled Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Friday, June 10th, 2011 02:33 pm
Cleaning out my "ready to post" folder, I wrote this ages ago but I can see it being useful to link to at some point.

I just saw Pretty Woman for the first time. MY GOD SO CREEPY. It's one long male power fantasy of having enough money to make a pretty, sweet natured lower class girl fall in love with you, and do and be whatever you want without once having to make a commitment or say "I love you" (seriously, never. Not even at the end). Because you see she's a sex worker, so her standards are so low that not being a complete douchebag all the time is more than she would ever expect! You don't need to show her respect or care about her feelings, as long as you give her enough gifts and say the odd nice thing from time to time she will be blissfully happy.
Read more... )
sqbr: (up and down)
Monday, January 31st, 2011 09:31 am
So a while go it occurred to me (aka various POC/non-white poeple pointed it out) that while space exploration proponents use the metaphor of Frontier (and the US frontier specifically), the thing about the frontier was that it wasn't actually untouched land that had to be settled from scratch, it was cultivated farmland, complete with local crops, that was stolen from it's original inhabitants. Plus a lot of the really difficult work was done not by wide eyed settlers but by slaves and indentured workers etc.

And in space there are no original inhabitants to prepare the land, no indentured workers to die on the railroads, not unless we build way better robots or find aliens to exploit or something and neither of those look likely.

And it turns out, some of the people who see space as a Frontier we Must Explore have realised this! And have decided that the obvious solution is to send out some brown people to prepare the land and then die.

If science wishes to proceed, it's going to have to start killing some people, deliberately, instead of through malfunctions due to old equipment or overlooked things. As callous as it sounds, those places that are already rife with overcrowding are probably also rife with people who have the necessary brains and disciplines to be able to make a one-way mission successful and transmit their data back so we can build the better mousetrap and send again. If nothing else, we should have enough material sent in intermittent missions for later missions to be able to cannibalize and use to make their work that much better and easier.

(the mod of [community profile] politics has apologised for letting this through and is going to try and fix things so it doesn't happen again, thankfully it's not representative of the usual type of post, but I guess given the nature of the comm you have to expect some fail from time to time)
sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
Friday, January 14th, 2011 08:55 am
Homestuck is one of those canons where I often veer dramatically from "This is so awesome!" to "ARGH SO ANGRY WHY CAN'T I QUIT YOU??" and back again. Right now I just feel like venting about the latter.
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sqbr: pretty purple pi (I like pi!)
Friday, November 12th, 2010 09:47 am
So I was reading ‘Too Asian’? which says The upshot is that race is defining Canadian university campuses in a way it did not 25 years ago. Here's a post about it by angry asian man.

I have encountered anti-Asian attitudes a lot as a maths major and tutor, I think the dynamic here is moderately similar to Canada.

It would be nice if instead of handwringing that Asian kids are getting BETTER GRADES THAN WHITE PEOPLE OMG anyone cared about the fact that rich white kids remain and have always been SIGNIFICANTLY overrepresented at universities in Canada/Australia etc.

I hope I'm not being derailing bringing class into it, but I think it's worth bringing up as part of the same overall imbalance.

I imagined how it would look if it was about rich kids in Australia, since that inequality struck me going to a private school and then uni as a white working class kid. Obviously you could do the same thing with race, but I didn't trust myself to do so myself without going to a weird place. Also rich people are a minority who do not fit in with the values Australia was founded on (as a penal colony)
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sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Friday, October 22nd, 2010 02:22 pm
Does anyone have a link to a nice clear straightforward post which goes through point-by-point why what she said was bad? I'm having a discussion on twitter and most of what I can find is either more broad or just people bolding the relevant sections (which was enough for me, but hey) EDIT: An open Letter to Elizabeth Moon is pretty good, as are the comments in the various screncaps of the original post. EDIT: Elf has also very nobly written exactly the sort of post I was looking for.

For more see elf's linkspam.

And of course since she got disinvited from being GOH (which does not mean she's been banned from the con) people are trotting out all sorts of racist and Islamophobic crap. There's this huge assumption that "muslim" is somehow a distinct category from American and feminist and nerd. That because in their minds Islam is a sexist/violent religion overall (and I don't think it is anyway(*)) any muslim who might be interested in going to a feminist science fiction con is going to be sexist and violent too. Bah.

And now people who would never go to Wiscon and don't care about feminism are getting involved and causing more drama. If you think all feminism is overly sensitive and PC then obviously the standards expected at a feminist con are going to seem overly sensitive and PC to you. If the basic premise of the con has no value in your eyes, what is she losing by being no longer honoured by it? Bah!

(*)I suppose it's possible that if you took all the members of all the religious belief systems in the world and took a measure of their average violence/sexism then Islam would win. Or maybe atheists would win, or Chistians or Buddhists or Jains (ok, probably not Jains) Who knows! Who cares! There's nothing in Islam that forces any individual muslim to be sexist or violent, as should be obvious to anyone who's actually met any muslims.
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 06:08 am
Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted by Malcolm Gladwell makes some criticisms of online activism. He does have some valid points but they are lost in disingenuous "back in my day…" illogic, and it annoyed me enough that I felt like ranting. This may seem like a coherent argument but it was written in one sitting at 5am, I'm sure there's aspects I've missed.

The basic structure of his argument, and many similar ones I've seen is to say:
The 1960s civil rights movement and modern day effective activism in countries that do not have much access to the internet worked/works through hierarchy and old fashioned communication etc.
Most people and groups associated with online activism achieve very little.
The internet is mostly used to support the status quo.
Q.E.D. the internet is ineffective and a tool of the Man.

But this is meaningless unless you answer the following questions:
How does current effective activism in the US and other places that do have the internet work?
If we define "people associated with offline activism" just as loosely (and he included everyone who joined a "Save Darfur" Facebook group, which is like counting everyone willing to wear a free "Save Darfur" sticker) then are they any better?
Are other communications media any less inclined to support the status quo?
Read more... )
sqbr: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
Friday, August 13th, 2010 07:08 am
If you like watching slashy pretty men being jerks and are fine with the erasure, dismissal, objectification and mistreatment of anyone who isn't white, straight, male, upper middle class, English, and able bodied, then this is the show for you. Well, episodes 1 and 3 are, episode 2 is just bad all round (and amazingly racist).

I...found parts of it interesting and engaging, and the slashiness is of a particular type I quite enjoy, but on the whole it wasn't as clever as I would have liked and large sections made me very annoyed. Meta: Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock gives a very damning critique, but to follow up on the portrayal of Watson's disability in particular: it is NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. At all. Not even vaguely alluded to.

And "That's the way it was dealt with in the books" doesn't make it ok, that just means it's not inaccurate as well as ableist. If they were doing a totally 100% literal adaptation which followed every minute detail exactly as it happened in the books I might forgive them and blame Arthur Conan Doyle, but they weren't by a long shot. They chose to keep that particular flaw of the books and must bear the responsibility for that choice.